Fifteen-year-old Mahsiah Imes of Jersey City, New Jersey, is leading an effort to lower the city’s voting age in local elections to 16. The Jersey Journal reports that his effort “is part of a nationwide push to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 to ignite civic engagement among younger citizens.”

Imes told the newspaper, “At 16, you’re able to get a job. You have to pay taxes … It can affect us in the long run on who is mayor.” He has been in contact with City Council President Rolando Lavarro, who said “he thinks the boy has ‘some compelling reasons.'”

NYRA’s Alex Koroknay-Palicz said, “Without the vote, 16-year-olds aren’t represented by our leaders and we all benefit from having their voices heard.” Koroknay-Palicz said that while the New Jersey Constitution grants the right to vote to everyone over 18, it does not ban those under 18 from voting. Koroknay-Palicz “believes state statute could be interpreted to give municipalities like Jersey City the right to lower the voting age.”

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